Paytan Biogeochemistry Lab

photos of sunsets

Elizabeth Derse Crook

Ocean acidification on coral reefs in the Yucatan, Mexico

Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California Santa Cruz

Elizabeth scuba diving


Elizabeth grew up in Ventura, CA and attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, where she majored in Human Biology. It was during a study-abroad trip to Australia during her junior year that Elizabeth realized her passion for coral reefs, and she started working in the Paytan lab shortly upon her return. She quickly became involved in a project assessing the impacts of anthropogenic inputs into Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauaii, which culminated in her senior honors thesis and sealed her fate as a coral reef scientist.

After her graduation from Stanford in 2006, Elizabeth joined the Teach for America program where she taught science to middle school children in New York City for 2 years. During her time in New York, she obtained her Masters in Education from Pace University. She returned to California and UCSC in 2008, where she has been working on her PhD in the Paytan lab ever since.

Elizabeth met her husband (Nigel) on a field excursion to Kona, Hawaii (incidentally a Paytan-lab trip) in 2006. They were married in 2009 and have a son and daughter. She is currently finishing up her PhD thesis in Washington with her wonderful family.

Project Description

Elizabeth's main interest concerns the impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs. She is currently working on a field-based project in the Yucatan Peninsula of Quintana Roo, Mexico. There, in conjunction with her collaborators, she is assessing the health of the coral reef ecosystem in the vicinity of low pH groundwater springs. Additionally, Elizabeth is starting laboratory experiments at UCSC's Long Marine Lab.

Page last updated on January 26, 2010